I am currently "Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of An Empire" by Simon Baker and I am noticing a pattern that is akin other things that I read about Rome (both before the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and even after when the Eastern Half was preserved and managed to persevere through the Medieval Era) that throughout its time, from when it was founded as a city-state/kingdom in Italy (accuracies about what really happened are still up for debate) to even after it became an empire, it has a history of being riddled with inner conflict from within (and this goes as far back as the legend/myth that started it all – Romulus killing his own brother Remus and the founding of Rome in the process and even later pillaged and conquered the nearby kingdoms and stole their women (a legend known as the Rape of the Sabine Women) because they needed women to reproduce offspring. This also gave birth one of Rome's core values and became ingrained in its culture which is the industriousness of the farmer and also the ferocity of the soldier). As ironic as how the Roman Empire was often glorified by other civilisations after its decline and fall for its supposed glory, perseverance and triumphs, it was riddled of inner conflicts, bureacracy and troubles on how to govern an empire that massive and abundant with different civilisations and cultures effectively –
- – whether it is the self-righteous aristrocrats during the time of the Roman Republic fighting for more power and influence while trying to get rid of other opposition in their way, whether it was Gracchus brothers who (supposedly) were fighting for the rights of the people, or Caesar who slowly and steadily showed up in front of the Senate as hero of the people and dictator for life and got stabbed in the process;
- – Augustus who slowly removed all other oppositions and cleverly managed to convince the people of Rome that he was a bringer of peace, pious and just, great and mighty and so on which are qualities that are akin to a king and later emperor. He even cleverly forced his own prefect in Egypt (Cornelius Gallus) to feel disgrace and shame and commit suicide after he wanted to glorify himself when he managed to subdue a revolt in Thebes.
- – there were aristocrats, would-be emperors, and even actual emperors who conflicted, contended and even back-stabbed each other because they felt that they were deemed worthy as rightful successors of Augustus and therefore, emperors of Rome. One famous example was Agrippina the Younger who killed her own father who make Nero become emperor (and then Nero's attempts to kill her was probably an act of paranoia because he was afraid that she was going to achieve more power than him). Even emperors of Roman were later assissinated and surprisingly, this always happened during times of drought
- – during the Third Century Crisis, there was political instability, civil wars and so on. Some generals even just marched into Rome started a civil war and proclaimed themselves as Emperor.
- – And even when Diocletian and Maximian retired as Augusti after Diocletian founded the Tetrachy and led the Caesars govern the empire for them, the Caesars and even would-be Caesars came into conflict with each other because there was a tension of whether the distribution of power was going to be hereditary or not.
- – even Byzantine emperors (who ironically were Christian emperors meaning that they supposedly imposed and followed Christian views and beliefs even though during the Medieval Era and before did not strictly follow what it preached considering that there were even Popes who acted like kings and conquerors than the spiritual leaders of the Christian religion like Benedict IX, Stephen VI, Alexander VI and so on). Prince Alexios II decided to work with the Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade to overthrow Alexios III and said that he would pay them (which unfortunately he did not which led to the Fourth Crusade)
I find this both a puzzle and ironic considering that many civilisations love to glorify the Roman Empire (both accurately and with great veracity; and also with a lot of romanticism and possible political agendas and inaccuracies) but it was filled with problems from the inside which led to constant coups, civil wars, political conflicts and so on. And this makes me wonder, how did Roman (apart from the Western side which led to its fall) manage to handle all of these while it was also surrounded with enemies from almost all sides?
Source: reddit post